Four arrests after drugs and pill presser are seized in raid

They are due at Crown Court later this month.
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Four men are due in court after police uncovered an alleged drug manufacturing operation.

A pill-pressing machine capable of producing millions of fake tablets on an industrial scale was seized by officers during a raid in Bowburn, near Durham.

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At around 2pm on Thursday, April 25, police forced entry into a storage unit and discovered hundreds of thousands of tablets which have since been confirmed as Class C drugs, predominantly Bromazolam, along with numerous pieces of equipment to mix the drugs, make pills and package them into blister packets.

The pill presser and some of the tablets seizedThe pill presser and some of the tablets seized
The pill presser and some of the tablets seized

Two men were arrested.

A secondary storage site was located in Birtley, where thousands more tablets were found. A further two men were arrested, and the overall operation is believed to be worth hundreds of thousands of pounds.

The four males aged between 23 to 52 were subsequently charged with being concerned in the production and supply of Class C drugs, and are due to appear at Newcastle Crown Court later this month.

Detective Chief Inspector Marc Michael, of Northumbria Police, said: “This operation involved staff from across the organisation who showed great teamwork to uncover and dismantle an operation of this scale.

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“The tablets have been confirmed as Class C drugs which can cause serious harm to anybody who abuses them. 

“Criminals involved in this illegal trade profit from the addiction and desperation of some of the most vulnerable members of our communities.

“Under the banner of Operation Sentinel, we have zero tolerance for drug-related criminality and will use every tool and our disposal to disrupt criminal organisations and pursue offenders.”

The expensive machinery used in the production process has been seized along with the vast quantity of tablets.

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Anyone who suspects drug misuse or supply in their area is asked to report it to police via the ‘Report’ page of the force website or by calling 101. Alternatively, you can ring independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.